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Vinos de Pago

The Vino de Pago designation is the highest category that a wine can obtain in Spain. These are wines originating from a ‘pago’, meaning a particular rural site or place with particular soil and microclimate characteristics that differentiate and distinguish it from others in the surrounding area. The Denominación de Pago serves to protect its name and the way it is made, as it is traditionally and notoriously linked to the traditional cultivation of the vineyards, from which wines with unique features and qualities are obtained.

In Spain there are currently 20 Pagos, 4 of which are in the Comunitat Valenciana, recognised as Vinos de Pago by the European Union: Pago Terrerazo, Los Balagueses, Vera de Estenas and Chozas Carrascal. There is a fifth pago, Pago de Tharsys, with transitional national protection (PNT), that is to say, recognised at national level until the European Union recognises its status at Community level.

Since ancient times, the pago has defined the quality of the wines, with those from a specific estate gaining prestige and value, influenced by the orography, orientation, soil and subsoil of certain plots.

The Pago de Los Balagueses estate is located in the Utiel Requena region, in a unique environment of great biodiversity that includes pine trees, almond trees, olive trees and aromatic plants. Its special location within the Hoces del Cabriel Natural Park creates a microclimate and soil ideal for vine growing. The vineyard is located a short distance from the archaeological site of Solana de Las Pilillas, a historic site where the Iberians made wine as early as the 5th century BC and which is a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The estate has excellent limestone and sandy loam soils, with predominant plantations of Syrah and Garnacha Tintorera, as well as a small plot of Merlot and Chardonnay. Spain's first organic Vino de Pago, its wine made with Garnacha Tintorera and Merlot has been rated 94 points by James Suckling and 92 points by Wine Spectator Magazine.

The Chozas Carrascal estate is located in San Antonio de Requena (Valencia), in a terroir located 750-850 metres above sea level with a continental climate. The peculiar orography of the terrain confers its own microclimate to vineyards over 20 years old, perfectly acclimatised to their terroir. The first area in the region to cultivate foreign varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc (1992), it also cultivates the native varieties Bobal (maintaining the centenary vines), Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, Monastrell and Macabeo to offer unique wines with grapes from a single vineyard.

Its production area is located 800 m above sea level and 6.8 km from the town of Utiel (Valencia), equidistant from the Mediterranean Sea and the extreme cold climate of the city of Teruel. An environment where pines, holm oaks and olive trees join the aromatic notes of thyme, rosemary and fennel to surround the Bobal variety, which occupies almost two thirds of the cultivated area of Finca El Terrerazo. The El Terrerazo PDO area includes vineyards planted in 1919 and 1948, which reflects the tradition of vineyard cultivation, with a taste for wines of very limited production, made on a family farm that is committed to sustainable wines, with innovative viticulture and winemaking.

The Vera de Estenas delimited area is located in Utiel (Valencia), in an area that stretches from the Sierra Juan Navarro to the Vega del río Magro, on the banks of the Estenas watercourse, which borders the estate and gives its name to the estate. The company 'Vera de Estenas Viñedos y Bodegas' is a family winery, with a winemaking tradition dating back to 1876. Influenced by the new viticultural practices developed by Francisco Martínez Bermell in the forties of the 20th century, the greatest boost came in 1981, when the Martínez Roda brothers acquired 'Vera de Estenas' and reconverted the plantation, growing the foreign varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay alongside Tempranillo and Bobal vines. The wines from this area are conditioned by the particular characteristics of the soil, orography and climatology, to offer structured and harmonious wines, with a common bouquet that is repeated every vintage.

Soil and sun give Pago de Tharsys 12 hectares of organic vineyards located in the municipality of Requena (Valencia). Tharsys' is the geographical name of a specific place where, at the beginning of the 19th century, vineyards already existed and wines were produced. Nowadays, this delimited enclave with unique characteristics makes it possible to obtain grapes of the highest quality according to the precepts of organic viticulture. With the Night Harvest technique, practised for decades at Pago de Tharsys, a higher quality of the grapes is guaranteed and the aromas and organoleptic characteristics of the grapes are preserved to the maximum in order to obtain healthier, more aromatic wines with greater typicality of this delimited area. In addition to producing wines under the Pago Denominations of Origin, Pago de Tharsys is a benchmark winery in the production of cavas, under the Cava de Requena DO.